Uses of salt in food | 24 Mantra Organic

What Uses of salt we have in our food

What does Salt do in our Foods?

Organic Lifestyle
26.06.2019

There are many functions salt performs in food preparation. Salt is sodium chloride. The major function of salt in food is to enhance the flavour. We add salt to our food while preparing it and also add from the salt shaker on the dining table. But there is another source for salt in our diet which contributes most. That is processed and readymade foods, about 70 % of our dietary salt comes from these sources.

Functions of salt in our food

Salt enhances flavour

Salt adds taste to the food, especially the bland ones and it also helps to bring out the natural flavours of food. It balances taste and if the product is sweet it brings out the sugary taste even better. If there is some slightly off taste in processed foods that are masked by the salty taste salt gives. We cannot even imagine eating most foods without adding salt! It is the most important flavour enhancer.

Salt as a preservative

Salt has been used from ancient times to increase the shelf life of food. Salt acts as a preservative by preventing the growth of microorganisms such as bacteria which cause foodborne diseases. It is used as a preservative for example in meats, fish, pickles and many other food products.

How does salt function as a preservative?

Before the advent of refrigerators, salt was one of the most commonly used ingredients to preserve food.

  1. It dehydrates bacterial cells
  2. It alters osmotic pressure and does not allow the growth of microorganisms
  3. It makes water unavailable for the bacterial growth

Because of all these mechanisms salt preserves food and makes it edible for a longer time.

Improves texture and appearance

Salt performs certain other functions in food. it makes the food seem thicker or fuller. In processed meat products salt holds moisture and improves texture, making it tender and juicier. In bread, the texture is stabilized because salt strengthens the gluten and allows the bread to rise during leavening.

Salt helps in improving the colour of food products and also controls the development of colour in food products such as ham, bacon and hotdogs. Along with sugar and nitrite or nitrate, salt helps in developing the desired colour in processed meat products. Salt also enhances the golden-brown colour in bread crust and it also increases caramelization.

Binding agent

Salt acts as a binding agent by extracting myofibrillar proteins in processed foods and formed meats. Formed meat are meat products which give the feeling that they are made of a whole piece of meat but are made by binding and pressing products got from the cut, sliced or minced meat along with the use of appropriate food additives. Salt also reduces cooking losses in these meat products.

Certain proteins that are soluble in salt make it possible to form stable emulsions in products such as sausages. The salt soluble proteins coat the fat globules forming a gel which consists of meat fat and moisture.

Salt controls fermentation

While baking salt prevents over fermentation by retarding the growth of bacteria, yeast and moulds. Salt helps in making the product of consistent quality and also helps in preventing the growth of harmful bacteria. Salt in products such as cheese helps in the growth of desirable microorganisms and retarding the growth of unwanted ones.

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